One mother is learning about the harsh realities of the seedy world of internet bullying after her 4-year-old daughter wanted to dress as Hillary Clinton. Now, that girl has become a meme President-Elect Donald Trump’s supporters are using without her permission to mock and harass Clinton supporters.
Jennifer Jones explained Tuesday on CNN that her daughter, Sullivan, loved Hillary Clinton long before she even met Clinton at a rally. Sullivan was clad in a little blazer, faux pearls, American flag sneakers and carried a small plush bag that read “Senator’s Briefcase” on the side.
Trump supporters turned it into what her mom called a “horrible meme put out by some people from the Trump campaign.” She said she felt “violated and helpless and that I had failed my child, that this was out there for the world to see.”
The image was grabbed by a Facebook page called Men for Donald Trump with over 200,000 followers. She contacted the page and asked them to remove it. They didn’t want to – but ultimately relented. “I AM FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS!” the top of the meme said. Halfway down the photo, text accused Clinton of accepting money and refugees from countries “that would mutilate this girl’s genitals, marry her to a Muslim pedophile, and stone her to death if she doesn’t wear a bedsheet.”
“I felt incredibly helpless because I’ve always heard that once things are on the internet, that they’re there forever and there’s nothing you can do, but I was determined even if it was just me alone to get it removed,” the girl’s mom told CNN. “Fortunately I had friends and family that stepped in to help.”
Thanks to those people as well as members of the “Pantsuit Nation” Facebook group, who bombarded the “Men for Trump” page, the image was deleted.
Jonathan Vick, the Assistant Director of Cyberhate Response at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told CNN that generally you are supposed to look at who owns the rights to a photo and follow the rules guided by terms of service. He’s working to help people like Sullivan and others who have been targeted by Trump supporters using their image without permission.
Vick explained that he reached out to the Clinton campaign and asked them to file a DMCA takedown notice to Facebook and a number of other sites asking that the photo be removed. It’s a tactic that he explained anyone could use if someone takes your image and uses it without consent.
Check out the full interview below: